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Natural Remedies for Incontinence

Updated on April 3, 2013

Have you ever lost the control of your bladder? If you have, you know how embarrassing it feels and it can be ten times worse if it’s something other people notice. You might be afraid to cough, sneeze or laugh because you might leak.

Incontinence can affect anyone – men, women, children or adults. However, women are three times more likely to suffer from incontinence than men because of the physical effects of childbearing and because of the loss of estrogen after menopause. So it can be said that incontinence is not a disease but it’s just a symptom of something else. There are drugs and surgeries that may help incontinence but there are also natural alternatives.

1. Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises are often used method to prevent or stop incontinence. They target the same muscles that are used to stop urinary flow. These muscles are called the pelvic floor and if your pelvic floor tone has weakened, it cannot support your organs. This again can lead to incontinence and to other problems. Kegel exercises are most useful at the early stages of incontinence or after a surgical operation to maintain the pelvic floor tone.

The best part about Kegel exercises is that you can do them anywhere and no one needs to know about it. To do Kegel exercises you simply pull in or squeeze your pelvic muscles. You can imagine that you are stopping urine flow. Hold the squeeze for ten seconds and then rest ten seconds. You should aim to do 10 to 20 sets every day.

Don’t worry if you don’t see a difference right away. Just like it takes time to see results when you go to gym, it takes time to strengthen your pelvic floor. It might take 6 to 12 weeks of daily practice before you see any difference in your bladder control. But since all of us are individuals some start seeing results after couple of weeks.

2. Removing Drinks and Foods that Irritate the Bladder

There are several different drinks and foods that can irritate your bladder lining and so cause leakage. You should try to eliminate or decrease the intake of these drinks and foods to see if they have any difference to your leakage. Don’t give up if you don’t see a difference within the first week. Nothing happens fast so give your bladder some time to see if it works.

If you are used to drinking lots of coffee, you might find this first piece of advice hard to hear. Caffeine in coffee may irritate your bladder and the ingredients that produce the distinct aroma of coffee (which is also found in decaffeinated coffee) may also do this. Tea can also irritate your bladder and to make it worse tea is diuretic, which means that tea promotes to loss of fluids through urination. Citrus fruits and juices can also be a problem so you should avoid them. For example, you should avoid lemons and tomatoes. Carbonated sodas are not only bad for your health but they also irritate your bladder. So what can you drink? Water is a good option and you can even add a splash of lemon (it’s not going to be enough to irritate your bladder). It’s important to drink plenty of water so you won’t become dehydrated. Being dehydrated can lead to constipation which will in turn irritate nerves that control the bladder. So remember to drink!

There are certain foods that can cause problems. Spicy food is the first thing you should let go off. So no more curries or chili for you. As previously stated tomatoes can cause problems, so you should avoid foods that have tomatoes in them. Unfortunately sugars cause problems too so you should not only avoid normal table sugar but honey and corn syrup as well.

3. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of healing the body. It has been used for thousands of years for variety of ailments and it maintains and promotes the health. The acupuncturist uses tiny needles to stimulate the nervous system, which releases neurochemical messenger molecules. The biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms and this promotes body’s well-being. In recent years acupuncture has become more common and there have been many studies about the benefits of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is something you shouldn’t try yourself, so the first thing you do is to find somebody who practices acupuncture. If you have any questions about acupuncture, ask the practitioner. If he doesn’t seem to know the answers to your questions, don’t go there but find a different practice. Because acupuncture involves putting needles through your skin, you should be very careful about the cleanliness of the place. If the practice looks unhygienic, leave. It’s about your health and so you should be extra careful. Before I scare you so badly that you never want to try acupuncture, I have to say that most acupuncturists are dedicated professionals who care about your health and the cleanliness of their practice. So don’t be afraid to try acupuncture!

Sources:

Burgio KL, Goode PS, Locher JL, Umlauf MG, Roth DL, Richter HE, Varner RE, Lloyd LK. "Behavioral training with and without biofeedback in the treatment of urge incontinence in older women: a randomized controlled trial." JAMA. 2002 13;288(18):2293-9.

Emmons SL, Otto L. "Acupuncture for overactive bladder: a randomized controlled trial." Obstet Gynecol. 2005 106(1):138-43.

Engberg S, Cohen S, Sereika SM. "The efficacy of acupuncture in treating urge and mixed incontinence in women: a pilot study." J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2009 36(6):661-70.

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    • collegedad profile image

      collegedad 

      5 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      I had to chuckle when I read the title to your hub. Made me think of some of the road trips I've taken. Some of my trip mates could have used your advise!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      5 years ago from USA

      Incontinence can be embarrassing and uncomfortable - it is good that there are some natural remedies out there.

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